I read a super-interesting post by our blogger friend Vertigo Shtick, titled Dr. Luke & the Women. In it, he writes about Ke$ha and how, through a great deal of research, he's come to the conclusion that she will last in this business. I'm sure he's far more well-versed in Ke$ha knowledge than I am or ever will be, but I don't completely agree with him. I've always believed that Miss K-dollah was a book-smart chick. After all, she got a 1500 on her SATs and used to attend history lectures at various colleges in Nashville while she was in high school, not for any sort of credit, but purely to feed her curiosity. With that said, I do think she's a bit ignorant, using offensive terminology like "tranny" in her tunes.
Her music is a whole other ballgame, though. Ke$ha's songs have always seemed like a creative orgasm for her infamous producer, Dr. Luke (who I reckon might be a bit of a Svengali in the way that Clive Davis was with Whitney or Tommy Mottola was with Mariah). Some call her style "turbo-POP," and I understand why. It's electronic, beat-driven, and has a million different layers sliding together simultaneously, as if Dr. Luke threw all these different elements in while thinking, "why not?" That's pretty cool of Luke, but in doing so, he's pigeon-holed Ke$ha in such a way that will deem her irrelevant in the years to come. Of course, Ke$ha has been just as much a part of pigeon-holing herself, because while Luke has constructed her sound, she's built her aesthetic as a bratty-grungey-hipster (but with glitter, because hipsters hate glitter, right?). It was cute at first, but now it's just kind of annoying, and the unfortunate thing is that no matter how hard she may try to escape that image, it will stick to her like glue in a way that Madonna's early look never did. Madonna utilized image to sell records, but she never looked like her music sounded, whereas Ke$ha appeared just as we expected her to, covered in shiny dirt like a slightly filthy, bratty POPster. Ms. Let's party and get glitter in our hoo-ha is the female equivalent of LMFAO. It's cute... until it's annoying. (Don't get me wrong - I'm a fan of glitter glitter everywhere, but not when it's been dipped in mud. That can cause in infection.)
I view Ke$ha in the same way I do Avril Lavigne. Ke$ha is essentially the 2010 version of Avril. They're both bratty, party POPsters, except the latter came around when POP-rock was predominant, while the former made her debut during the electro-POP era. I do think Ke$ha will always be around, but she'll never again be as relevant as she has been because she is the spitting image of her music and of the last two years. She is a moment in time, and times change. Avril will never escape 2002-2004. She may have a hit every once in a while, like 2007's Girlfriend, but no matter how good the songs are (I LOVED What the Hell, which is basically a more melodic Girlfriend), she'll never outgrow what she was (in our minds, anyway). Another example is Alanis Morrisette. She came out at the perfect time, and will forever be remembered as the rebellious 20-something singing songs from her iconic 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill. Despite the fact that she has the occasional hit every now and then (like the gorgeous Thank You or Hands Clean), Alanis will never be as big or relevant as she was. These POPsters are not as timeless and versatile as Mariah, Madonna or Michael, or even Britney or Beyoncé, all of whom have maintained their A-list status.
This is not a reflection of Alanis, Avril, or Ke$ha's vocal or songwriting talent. Ke$ha can certainly hold a tune, as this video of her singing the Rolling Stones' White Horses at a Hollywood party proves. Still, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, and even Justin Bieber all have the potential to last because their music is a bit more timeless - and their images are not a precise projection of their sound. Lady GaGa may not be the biggest POP star in the world forever after, but she'll always be among the leading pack and will be venerated in later years, like the aforementioned legends. Sorry, K-dollah, but I just don't believe you'll ever be one, regardless of whether or not you deserve to.